Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why You Need a Year-End Press Release—Now

Whatever your business is, it’s time to start working on a year-end press release to be distributed in mid- to late December.

Think you don’t have anything to say? Think again.

Newspapers, radio and television stations, and bloggers are all doing stories on the economy in late December and early January. Experts with views on national and global outlooks are plentiful. Experts on the economy in your community or your industry tend to be few and far between. They aren’t listed in the telephone directory – or almost any other directory – either, making it hard for reporters to identify them.

You are, however, an expert on how your business is doing. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking about possible press releases:

  • · Do you sell office supplies? How has the past year year been, and what are you expecting for next year? You have valid personal observations on what you are seeing in your business.
  • · Do you repair appliances or cars or just about anything else? Are more people keeping their older appliances longer? Or are more people likely to buy a new appliance rather than make major repairs?
  • · Are you a medical professional? Are your patients having to make larger out-of-pocket payments as their employers cut back on health insurance? Are you seeing more patients who no longer have group policies? How is this impacting you – and them?
  • · What products and services to you offer? Which ones are showing sales increases and why?

In other words, if you are in business and you have customers, you are doing something of interest to the community. It’s a good time to share your story.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

PR tips for businesses, both large and small

Sometimes other people say it so well there's no need to try to improve.

PRWEb recently had a good blog post on how the Internet and electronic delivery can give small businesses the same ability as large ones to reach major audiences. Among the comments: "Remember, sending a press release online to any size audience means that a company of ten can exert as much influence as a company of 10 thousand." You can read the complete article here.

And whether your organizations is large or small, it's all too easy to send mixed messages because different people express key points differently. Read Forbes on why organizations need a chief content officer.

Friday, November 4, 2011

More People Watch My Drunk Kitchen than CNN

Did you know that a YouTube video called My Drunk Kitchen has more viewers than CNN?

I didn’t until I attended a webinar given by consultant Katie Paine and sponsored by Business Wire.

So what is the message in this? I find two.

First, people are self-selecting the media they want to see, and they’re doing it online. If you are relying only on traditional media, you aren’t reaching enough people.

Second, most content is boring. People want entertainment or facts they can use immediately.

You may not have a story that is as entertaining as My Drunk Kitchen. But in this day of rapidly expanding websites and busy schedules, you need to be sure that your story is available whenever people are ready to read it. And most people are going to look for the facts they want on Google. A good public relations program will stress both traditional and online media.

P.S. For what it's worth, I watched part of an episode of My Drunk Kitchen. So far I prefer CNN.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why Everybody — Even with Older Clients — Should Care About Social Media

No matter what the age is of your audience, social media is critical as the number of traditional media operations declines.

I heard this point emphasized by Oliver Theil, director of public relations, San Francisco Symphony, at a recent meeting of the Public Relations Round Table of San Francisco, and I couldn’t agree more. They apply to almost every business or organization.

Among the relevant points that Theil made are these:
• The number of traditional media outlets is diminishing.
• Those that exist all have suffered from staff cutbacks in recent years, diminishing the opportunity for coverage.
• Because of this, it is important for the symphony to engage its community of 104 musicians, 1,500 volunteers, subscribers and other friends to tell its story. “We need to give them the content to help us.” Another quote from Oliver: “It is critical to deal with our patrons directly.”
• Word-of-mouth recommendations in social media from symphony supporters are more persuasive than recommendations from the media.
• The community of friends, i.e., social media subscribers, is not primarily interested in factual information such as upcoming programs. Instead they want tidbits giving them a personal connection with performers, such as an interview with a violin player or a YouTube interview with a visiting artist as he arrives to rehearse. These are the things that people share with their friends.

It’s good advice for everyone.

Disclosure note: I’m proud to say that I’m a former board member of the Round Table, founded in 1939 for senior-level public relations practitioners.